Third Cheerleader’s the Charm for Patrick (#36 – Changing Loves)

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Analyzing the cover: New power couple Patrick and Tara getting frisky with some streamers at Melissa’s surprise party. Oh my God, I love your sweater where did you get it?? (That is the ugliest effing sweater I’ve ever seen.)

Coach Engborg scolds the squad for not having enough pep and spirit at the last basketball game. They have all been distracted by various issues; Jessica is particularly worried because she’s failing French class.

Jessica’s original French teacher left for maternity leave, and the replacement is much harder and stricter. Jessica failed her first test with the new teacher, and when told about after-school study sessions, Jessica said she couldn’t do it because she has cheerleading. “Cheerleading is more important to you than French?” her teacher asked. Jessica was like, ummmmm yes.

Patrick convinces Jessica to take a job working for him 3-4 hours a week so that she can afford to pay for her own French tutor. She’ll do stuff for the business side of his moving company.

Tara and Olivia talk at Benny’s (the hamburger place) about how Tara has dated a bunch of guys but she has only wanted to be serious about one, the teacher who was too old for her. Olivia tells her the right guy will come along one day. Then they discuss how the new alternate cheerleader Melissa doesn’t feel like a part of the group, so they want to make her a cake to make her feel more appreciated. Jessica and Patrick join them and tell them about Jessica’s new job. Tara admires how generous and caring Patrick is, and then tells him that if Jessica doesn’t have time to do everything he needs, she can help too. Olivia side eyes her. “Olivia hoped Tara was smart enough not to make a play for Patrick while Jessica was dating him.”

Patrick suggests they give Melissa a surprise party to make her feel accepted, and Tara thinks that’s the greatest idea any man ever had. She offers her home as the host of the party, and Patrick says if she needs any help moving stuff around for the party, he’s her guy. Tara watches Patrick and Jessica and thinks that they don’t know it yet, but their relationship is over – the electricity is gone. Tara says she’ll call Patrick as soon as she gets permission to host the party.

Jessica calls the community college to see about getting a French tutor, and Mary Ellen is the one who answers the phone, working some hours in the office at school each week. “Mary Ellen, you’ve really got your act together. Marriage, work, school…everything.” Barf. Jessica says she wants her French trouble to be a secret, so Mary Ellen is going to place an ad for a tutor on the bulletin board in the French department, leaving off Jessica’s last name.

Tara gets permission for the party and calls Olivia to tell her. They plan to do the “Welcome” cheer when she walks in. Such cheese. Tara says Patrick is going to help, and Olivia asks her if she likes Patrick. Tara doesn’t answer, and Olivia says she doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt. Really she doesn’t want any drama messing up the squad. Tara gets annoyed and says she gets the message. After they hang up she calls Patrick, but he’s not home. He’s emptying his garbage truck at the town dump, where he hears a weak cry. After looking around he finds a tiny little kitten near death. He wraps it in a towel and brings it home.

Jessica calls Patrick and confirms she can take his job offer. She’s not actually crazy about the fact that they will be spending all their time together, because she doesn’t want their relationship to get more serious. But she needs the money, and Patrick assures her that he needs someone to do it. He also tells her he has a surprise that she’s going to love.

Diana knows that Melissa is insecure about her place on the squad, and she also knows Jessica is doing poorly in French thanks to a friend who shares the same class. When Engborg calls her in for a meeting, Diana is really excited thinking Coach is going to ask her to replace either Melissa or Jessica, but in fact Coach just needs the key to the room where they keep their wolf mascot. Diana is angry and disappointed. She then butters up new basketball player Jeff Daniels and gets him to ask her to be his date to the surprise party for Melissa.

Jessica comes to Patrick’s for her new “job” and is aggravated that he wants to eat dinner first and plays Lionel Richie music in the background. Then she gets to work and sees how disorganized he is with bills and client information. When the evening is done, Patrick wants to get that dinner she rejected earlier, but she says she has to get home. He brings out the kitten, her surprise, and says it’s for her. Jessica doesn’t want a kitten, she has enough problems. Patrick is surprised. “I thought you’d love him… make a home for him,” he says. “Make a home… that’s just like you, Patrick, you’re always thinking of making a home. You’re ready to settle down and have a family. Well, I’m not.” That escalated quickly.

Patrick says she’s jumping to conclusions, he just wanted to give her a cat, but she spills out all her feelings on being overwhelmed and not wanting the pressure of a relationship. “You deserve a different girlfriend, a girl who would appreciate you and want to share your life.” Then she tells him maybe she shouldn’t work for him either, since it would be uncomfortable. He agrees but still pays her for the night. Before she leaves, she lifts up the kitten and laughs, telling him that the kitten is actually a girl. How she can tell, I have no clue.

Patrick feels sorry for himself for a little while – first Mary Ellen, now Jessica. When will he find a girl who wants to get serious with him? Right on cue, Tara calls about the party. Patrick says he’s not sure if he’s going anymore because he and Jessica broke up. Tara says she’s sorry (Sure she is!) and that if he could use someone to talk to, she’s there. Besides, she needs his strong arms to help move stuff around for the party. Patrick agrees to help, but he’s still down. “He was empty.” My poor Pat.

Jessica tells Mary Ellen no one has called offering to be her tutor. Mary Ellen says it can take weeks to find one, and Jessica replies that she doesn’t have weeks – if French drags down her GPA, she will be off the squad. Mary Ellen encourages Jessica to fess up to Coach Engborg. When Jessica finally does tell Coach, she is understanding and says she will talk to the French teacher to see how they can help Jessica.

Patrick picks up Tara to go buy drinks for the party. He has the kitten in the car, and explains he’s going to go drop it off at the shelter since Jessica didn’t want it, and his dog Leon is not fond of it being at their house. Tara talks to him about his breakup with Jessica, relating it to her experience with Nick Stewart. She pets the kitten the whole time. “You both have the same hair color, you could be sisters,” Patrick points out. So I guess it’s orange. Tara says she always wanted a sister. She decides right then to adopt the kitten and names her Tabitha. They go to the pet store to get supplies for it, then go to Benny’s for a Coke together. He tells her she’s different than he thought, a good listener and she has a serious side. They make plans for him to come over before the party and help set up.

He arrives and starts moving furniture around and blowing up balloons. They talk while they work, and Tara tells him she wants to live in Tarenton for her whole life. “You’re the first girl I’ve talked to who feels the same way I do about Tarenton,” Patrick says. Tara mentions Jessica being at the party, and Patrick says it might be uncomfortable but “over is over.”

Jessica tells the squad she might be kicked off cheerleading because of her French grade. Tara is feeling guilty about her feelings for Patrick, so she comes up with a possible solution – her maid, Marie, is French and Jessica could come over and practice French conversation with her.

Hope enlists Tough Tony’s help to get Melissa to her surprise party, where she is thoroughly surprised. Tara uncomfortably tries to bring up Patrick to Jessica at the party, telling her that they became friends and she adopted the kitten he found. Jessica snaps that she and Patrick are history and walks away. Later Patrick asks Tara to slow dance with him. “This will be our song, she thought. Whenever I hear it, I will remember this moment.” Tara knows they both feel something very special during their dance. So many jokes I could make but I’ll refrain. Diana comes to the party, does nothing except make a few snide comments, then leaves. Not very diabolical of her. I thought she had some big sabotage plan?

After the party, Patrick stays to help clean up, and he and Tara end up kissing. New power couple.

Jessica has a meeting with Coach Engborg and her French teacher, who says, “You never let me know you were in trouble.” The Fs she was getting on assignments weren’t a big clue? Jessica says Hope is going to coach her in grammar, since Hope was a top French student, and she’s going to practice conversation with Tara’s maid. Coach also gives her permission to miss practice once a week for the French study group. Her teacher agrees to let her retake the exam in a month.

Other notes and quotes

  • Tara thinks Patrick has “the rough he-man look of a young Clint Eastwood.”
  • Patrick gives his kitten warm milk and baby food. Does he think baby food is for babies of all species?
  • Apparently Mary Ellen had gotten “bony” while seeking to be a model, and according to Jessica has gained a little weight.

Sign of the Times

  1. Jessica and Patrick listen to the Talking Heads
  2. Diana tells a basketball player to call her – “It’s in the phone book, Diana Tucker… I have my own listing.”
  3. Tara and Patrick dance to a Billy Joel song.

Book Deets
Author: Judith Weber
Year: 1987
Pages: 147

Grade: A

Next time on Cheerleaders… Olivia’s boyfriend David Duffy is making up funny stories about the squad on his new radio show. But some of the stories sound too much like the truth – and the cheerleaders aren’t laughing! Read Cheerleaders #37, ACTING UP.


One thought on “Third Cheerleader’s the Charm for Patrick (#36 – Changing Loves)

  1. Pingback: Mary Ellen Sucks at Everything (#35 – Moving Up) – We've Got Spirit

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